OT: Who is/was your most famous/successful blood relative?

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My mom’s adopted so don’t know much about her family, but I’m proud of my paternal grandfather.

His parents moved to America from Poland, as a kid he left school after 8th grade to work in the coal mines of western PA. Stopped mining in his 30s and took an aptitude rest that helped him get a gig to train him as an engineer. Got hired by a company and moved his family to Stamford, CT.

It’s not an uncommon story, but it’s cool that in the 1950s, someone with almost no formal education could work their way up to become an engineer.
 
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My cousins daughter who was the starting goaltender for the 2018 USA Woman’s Hockey team.
Here we are at a family gathering. I blocked myself out so I wouldn’t embarrass her. She’s well known and has been all over the TV so she wouldn’t care having her picture shown.

I gotta say there’s nothing like having a gold medal around your shoulders.
Way to go Maddie !

B43632FD-D486-46BC-8957-57F022C1A6AC.jpeg
 
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Great uncle is Michael Burke who among other things was President of the Yankees, Knicks, CBS and Madison Square Garden. He had a super interesting life (cause I know I’m forgetting more....guy was like Forrest Gump) where after a decorated military career he started as a CIA agent then was involved with Ringling Brothers Circus. His biography titled ‘Outrageous Good Fortune’ has numerous mentions of my grandfather. Was too young to have met him as he died when I was 2 or 3 but he grew up eight in Enfield.

Edit-interesting article written about his life in link below. I forgot he had somehow palled around with Hemingway when he was a spy in Europe

 
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storrsroars

Exiled in Pittsburgh
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If you google my younger brother, you'll get a lot of pages about a serial killer with the same name. But that guy is no relation. It's possible there's a second or third cousin who was once under secretary of state, but I haven't investigated beyond knowing she shares a name with someone who held that office and lives in DC.

Sad to say in my lineage, it's probably me. I've been on TV, radio, newspapers and magazines quite a bit since moving to Pittsburgh, and was once the closing speaker for a national association's major conference. And yet I'm worth less than 20% of what I was when I moved here, lol. So much for fame = fortune.

My first media exposure was on the front page of the Stamford Advocate in 1974. As fate would have it, I was in the foreground of a photo of a Vietnam protest in Bulls Head (Stamford) wearing my late father's Army jacket. That got me grounded for two weeks.
 
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Steve Vai - Legendary guitarist. Related through both my mother's side (by marriage) and my father's side (by blood).

Torey Lovullo - Former MLB Player and current Arizona Diamondbacks Manager. Fun fact, Torrey's dad was the producer and co-creator of Hee Haw.
 
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My Mom's brother was a "war hero" in WWII, a bomber pilot who flew in a couple of historic bombing missions. As a kid I was a history buff and read his name in a couple of books about WWII. He came back from the war as a kind of celebrity in the Hartford area and parlayed that into a large real estate empire in the Northeast and down in FL. Early on, he asked my Dad to work for him as his right hand man/lackey. My Dad turned him down because he wanted to be his own man. My Mom's sister's husband took the gig instead. They all died very wealthy, their kids and grandkids are still enjoying the wealth. My Dad did fine for himself and our family, but we were FAR from being wealthy. But I always respected my Dad for making that tough decision and I followed in his tradition of choosing the hard road to do everything in life!
 
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Great uncle is Michael Burke who among other things was President of the Yankees, Knicks, CBS and Madison Square Garden. He had a super interesting life (cause I know I’m forgetting more....guy was like Forrest Gump) where after a decorated military career he started as a CIA agent then was involved with Ringling Brothers Circus. His biography titled ‘Outrageous Good Fortune’ has numerous mentions of my grandfather. Was too young to have met him as he died when I was 2 or 3 but he grew up eight in Enfield.

Edit-interesting article written about his life in link below. I forgot he had somehow palled around with Hemingway when he was a spy in Europe

That's a pretty fascinating life...too bad the age gap was too big to hear some tales firsthand...
 
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Literally nobody is remotely famous in my family. I do have the same name as a controversial sports radio guy in the midwest. I got the good Twitter handle early (with no numbers or underscores), so I get people tweeting me nasty stuff thinking it's him. It's kind of funny.

My wife's family is a bit more interesting. Seinfeld is a not-very-distant cousin, but he has no interest in the family, even those that knew him growing up. Probably a good decision by him.
 
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Interesting question which caused me to reflect on what is success, how damn few direct relatives I have, and, how mainstream vanilla most lives have been. Is success or fame an achievement at a moment in time, or does it have to endure? Is success the effect on other people's lives, or your own? Its only 9am and you've burned up all my thinking capability for the day.

I'll use one definition of success as proving the ability to arise to a big moment when a normal person is faced with an extraordinary challenge. My wife's uncle, Frank Riduka, (from Pittsfield), won the Navy Cross on the destroyer Smith in the Solomon Islands in the Battle of Santa Cruz Oct. 26, 1942 in the early days of Guadalcanal. A Japanese plane crashed into the ship, knocked out the bridge, and set the whole ship afire killing 57 men. As Helmsman, keeping his cool during the carnage, he took control at a secondary manual station at the stern and by causing the ship to list violently while smashing down thru the wake of another ship, he caused the burning fuel to be washed overboard, the fires to be reduced to manageable before ammunition on board could explode, and, put the ship back in action in its screening position next to the Enterprise. I have his Navy Cross and his original typed commendation from Admiral Halsey. The account is included in of one of tv's Battle 360 series entitled 'Bloody Santa Cruz' but they don't mention him by name and give credit to the Capt. (Her uncle said the Capt was in and out of consciousness at the beginning).

I guess this post was meant to give his moment of fame some sunshine and give @temery something to read. (Her father also won the Silver Star in the Philippines)

Thanks for posting that. We watch the American Heroes Channel on DirecTV quite often and probably saw an episode about that battle but will certainly look for it in the future.

As for me, I once saw Mickey Mantle at the Palm Too in NYC one night long after his retirement. He was so drunk he could barely stand and was being supported by a young woman who was probably a Yankee publicist or something. He'd always been my favorite sports hero and it was sad to see him like that. What if Whitey Ford and Billy Martin hadn't gotten hold of him?
 
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8893

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My cousins daughter who was the starting goaltender for the 2020 USA Woman’s Hockey team.
Here we are at a family gathering. I blocked myself out so I wouldn’t embarrass her. She’s well know and has been all over the TV so she wouldn’t care having her picture shown.

I gotta say there’s nothing like having a gold medal around your shoulders.
Way to go Maddie !

View attachment 57799

Wow! Are you also @BlueWhiteKid 's dad?
 
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My great uncle graduated Dean's list from MIT and was part of the research team that proved the existence of Exotic Mesons. I couldn't tell you what a Meson is or what makes it exotic, but he's a fun guy to talk too. I remember talking to him about the Red Sox and he started explaining how the air pressure was different when you're at the beach vs at Fenway. Good times.
 
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Great-Uncle is a voice over actor. Older folks may have heard his work for "Frontline" series on PBS, younger generations would know him as the voice in the Dos Equis "most interesting man in the world" commercials (not the actor, but the voice). You can almost always find his work on random documentaries on history/discovery/natgeo channels.
 

krinklecut

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My uncle works at nintendo and he said theres a cheat code to get gannons sword he showed me
 
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My great Uncle was the Mayor of a town in Northern Italy, population 800. The summers we would visit, whenver the "carnival", which consisted of bumper cars and swinging chairs, came to town, I would receive free tokens. I kid you not.
 

Fairfield_1st

Sitting on this Barstool talking like a damn fool
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Walter Thiesen (unsure of the exact relation) was a famous photographer for his time in the 1920's. Was ,aim;y in Pittsburgh and took photos of the sports who's who. Every once in a while I see his stuff on eBay or in an auction. Here's an example of an auction.

Lot of three vintage photographs with relation to Honus Wagner Sporting Goods store c.1920’s. Each is sepia tone and pictures the store front in Pittsburgh and a wonderful interior shot with numerous pieces of vintage equipment visible. All are 8”x10” stamped Walter Thiesen photo. on reverse: EX-MT

My 2nd cousin's kid, Brett Thiesen, is a coach on the Packers. Never met the kid and the 2nd cousin maybe once or twice.
 

August_West

Hang ‘em high
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Yes, I am that bored.
my cousin Carol Vadnais played for the Bruins with Orr, Sanderson, et all.

Carol played for the Rangers too. He came over in the biggest trade in NHL history. (maybe other than Gretzky to LA)

Vadnais and Phil Esposito from the Bruins to the Rangers for Brad Park and Jean Ratelle.


I think the Bruins got the better of deal much to my chagrin.
 

8893

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No one of particular note on my side. My grandfather fought for Éamon de Valera in the Irish Republican Army and a cousin is a somewhat notable regional singer in Ireland.

My mother-in-law is a distant cousin of Tom Jones.
 

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